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Chasing Snow During Miami’s Big Freeze of 2010

The last time it snowed was Jan 19, 1977
January 11, 2010 By Carlos Miller in Miami: Local News  | 2 Comments


It was so cold in Miami over the weekend that the Robert “The Raven” Kraft donned a shirt on his daily run, the first time he’s done that since 1975.

The last time there were reports of snow in Miami, I was just nine-years-old. It was January 19, 1977 and I remember stepping into my fourth-grade class and everybody talking about it.

And I remember by the time I got home from school that day, the now-defunct Miami News afternoon newspaper had pictures of snow on car on its front page.

But I was disappointed because I had not seen the snow. It had fallen before dawn and most of it had melted by the time I stepped outdoors. I was never much of an early riser. But I remember keeping my eye out for snow the rest of that winter.

But snow never came to Miami again. In fact, as I grew older, the only snow that I ever saw in Miami came from Colombia. That snow was everywhere during the 1980s.

I didn’t see actual snow for the first time until years later when I had moved to Europe. And since, I’ve lived in several places where it snows, learning to love the snow and hate the snow, but never failing to get excited after that first snowfall.

So when I heard reports that it had snowed in Miami Saturday night, I gathered my still and video cameras and headed out to Kendall where snow flurries were supposedly seen.

I was determined to capture this record moment, especially considering I missed it the first time around.

The initial report came on Twitter from WSVN citing unconfirmed reports of snow flurries at the Town and Country Mall. I started a Miami Beach 411 discussion on the matter. Then a few people who were hanging out the Kendall Ale House further confirmed the reports on Facebook.

I stepped out my balcony and was met by a deep chill, but no snow. So I bundled up and headed out to Kendall with my cameras, expecting to see television news trucks at either the Town and County Mall or the Ale House, but there was nothing.


In the Ale House parking lot, I even stepped out of my car and pointed my camera up a flagpole, determining that would be the perfect shot once the snow flurries started falling because it was well-lit and with Pollo Tropical in the background, it won’t be confused with any other place in the country. Or so I thought. I now know Pollo Tropical has locations in New York and New Jersey. Nevertheless, I was ready.

At that time, it was 37 degrees, according to my iPhone. I sat in my car watching people running out of the Ale House to their cars, considering asking them if they had seen the snow, but deciding against it because my goal was to see it for myself and capture it with my cameras. I didn’t drive all the way to Kendall for second-hand information.

After about 30 minutes of shivering in my car, I got bored, so I drove up and down Kendall Drive, noticing how with its rows of corporate chain restaurants and cookie-cutter townhouses, the area looks more like the rest of the United States than does most of Miami-Dade County.

I ventured all the way to Krome Avenue, 179th Avenue, noticing how far west the development had spread since the days I would hang out in Kendall as a Miami-Dade College student, back when it was called Miami-Dade Community College.

But no signs of snow. I ended up driving back towards my part of town and into downtown Miami, thinking it would be cool to catch the falling snow flurries against one of the skyscrapers.

But no signs of snow. Not even on the former Bank of America building, which is normally lit up in blue with white snowflakes at this time of year. They turn it off at 11 pm to save expense.

So I got back home, posted a comment on the thread that I had started, then watched the temperature drop another degree. It was now 36 degrees at 4 a.m. I was a little tired and was finally getting warm, but I knew I would kick myself if I later learned it had snowed before morning, so I ventured back out again.

Logic was telling me that I should drive up to North Miami for a greater chance of seeing snow, but I really wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I was hungry, so I headed to La Palma, the 24-hour Cuban joint on Eight Street and 62nd Ave. for some churros and hot chocolate.


And then I came back home and updated the thread some more, keeping a careful eye out my window for any flurries. Still nothing.

After a few hours of sleep, I learned that the reports of snow in Miami were still unconfirmed, but still not refuted.

Even the National Weather Service is unsure if it snowed

Later that day, I contacted Robert Molleda from the National Weather Service to get his opinion. Even he wasn’t sure.

“Tomorrow (Monday) we’re going to look at some of the pictures and video we received in order to make a determination,” he said.

“It was raining very lightly and quite frankly, it was probably very hard to tell the difference between the rain drops and the sleet/snow, if indeed that’s what it was.”

Molleda said that it had been 36 degrees when it snowed in Miami on January 19th, 1977, so Saturday night’s temperature was just right for it because there was precipitation in the air.

He said that although temperatures dropped to the mid-30s Sunday night, there was little precipitation in the air to cause it to snow.

The average temperature for January in Miami is 67 degrees, which is why Miami is usually the best place to be in the country at this time of year.

But at 36 degrees, it can sting us worse than it would up north because many buildings down here are not insulated to protect us from the cold. We’re more prepared for a category 5 hurricane than freezing temperatures.

So whether or not it snowed this past weekend, it was still one for the record books.

Here are photos taken earlier in the day on Saturday on South Beach.




Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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2 Comments on

"Chasing Snow During Miami’s Big Freeze of 2010"

Doug says:

That cruise ship pic at the bottom is awesome!

Posted on 01/18/2010 at 8:24 AM

Moses Kestenbaum ODA says:

Never snowed in miami beach , that’s the reason I bought my ass down here from NY. Nevertheless I did see some flakes , maybee it was bird feather or some shredded paper flying around in the wind

Posted on 02/19/2015 at 7:59 PM

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